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Luke 18:1-8

Context
Prayer and the Parable of the Persistent Widow

18:1 Then 1  Jesus 2  told them a parable to show them they should always 3  pray and not lose heart. 4  18:2 He said, 5  “In a certain city 6  there was a judge 7  who neither feared God nor respected people. 8  18:3 There was also a widow 9  in that city 10  who kept coming 11  to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 18:4 For 12  a while he refused, but later on 13  he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor have regard for people, 14  18:5 yet because this widow keeps on bothering me, I will give her justice, or in the end she will wear me out 15  by her unending pleas.’” 16  18:6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! 17  18:7 Won’t 18  God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry out 19  to him day and night? 20  Will he delay 21  long to help them? 18:8 I tell you, he will give them justice speedily. 22  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith 23  on earth?”

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Or “should pray at all times” (L&N 67.88).

4 sn This is one of the few parables that comes with an explanation at the start: …they should always pray and not lose heart. It is part of Luke’s goal in encouraging Theophilus (1:4).

5 tn Grk “lose heart, saying.” This is a continuation of the previous sentence in the Greek text, but a new sentence was started here in the translation by supplying the pronominal subject “He.”

6 tn Or “town.”

7 sn The judge here is apparently portrayed as a civil judge who often handled financial cases.

8 tn Grk “man,” but the singular ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used as a generic in comparison to God.

9 sn This widow was not necessarily old, since many people lived only into their thirties in the 1st century.

10 tn Or “town.”

11 tn This is an iterative imperfect; the widow did this on numerous occasions.

12 tn Grk “And for.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

13 tn Grk “after these things.”

14 tn Grk “man,” but the singular ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used as a generic in comparison to God.

15 tn The term ὑπωπιάζω (Jupwpiazw) in this context means “to wear someone out by continual annoying” (L&N 25.245).

16 tn Grk “by her continual coming,” but the point of annoyance to the judge is her constant pleas for justice (v. 3).

17 sn Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! The point of the parable is that the judge’s lack of compassion was overcome by the widow’s persistence.

18 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

19 sn The prayers have to do with the righteous who cry out to him to receive justice. The context assumes the righteous are persecuted.

20 tn The emphatic particles in this sentence indicate that God will indeed give justice to the righteous.

21 sn The issue of delay has produced a whole host of views for this verse. (1) Does this assume provision to endure in the meantime? Or (2) does it mean God restricts the level of persecution until he comes? Either view is possible.

22 tn Some argue this should be translated “suddenly.” When vindication comes it will be quick. But the more natural meaning is “soon.” God will not forget his elect and will respond to them. It may be that this verse has a prophetic perspective. In light of the eternity that comes, vindication is soon.

23 sn Will he find faith on earth? The Son of Man is looking for those who continue to believe in him, despite the wait.



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